O you who believe, you shall give to charity from the good things you earn and from what we have produced for you from the earth. Do not pick out the bad therein to give away, when you yourselves do not accept it unless your eyes are closed. You should know that God is Rich, Praiseworthy. (2:267)
God reminds us so much in the Quran of the importance of charity in whatever form it takes. The first form of charity is in the form of Zakat, the obligatory charity that is to be given away, or set aside, on the day of harvest and is mentioned continually throughout the Quran (6:141) It has specific recipients; the parents, relatives, orphans, the poor and the traveling alien. (2:215).
The second form of charity is the day-to-day giving to those around us we see in need. This can be given in any form: money, deeds, tasks, goods, words of kindness and compassion etc.
We know from 9:103 that charity acts as a form of purification. "Any charity you give, or a charitable pledge you fulfill, God is fully aware thereof........" (2:70). "If you declare your charities, they are still good. But if you keep them anonymous and give them to the poor, it is better for you and remits more of your sins....." (2:271)
God is teaching us that it is of no direct importance to anyone else what you give to charity, it is between the giver of the charity and God. It is not important that anyone else knows. What is important however, is that you give and that God witnesses that which you give. After all we give it to please God and not to please others, or to have the charity that we give, rewarded or recognized by others.
Any charity you give is for your own good, providing you give it for the sake of God and not to gain any kind of prominence among the people, and any charity you give will be repaid to you without the least injustice (2:272). We are told never to tire of giving to charity. Give both night and day, secretly and publicly. Give to those who are needy and never beg from the people persistently (2:273-274). Do not be afraid that our money will run out if we repeatedly give to charity in moderation, for God will surely see to it that we will be provided for without suffering any depravation.
A trait of a believer is to give both with money, goods, deeds and actions. For it God will repay us both in this life and in the Hereafter. We must give, but not to the extent of leaving ourselves without, for that would be classed in the sight of God as excessive.
God informs us that we shall give the due alms to the relatives, the needy, the poor and the traveling alien, but do not be excessive, extravagant. The extravagant are brethren of the devils and the devil is unappreciative of his Lord. (17:26-27). Instead we are commanded by God not to keep our hands stingily tied to our necks, nor to foolishly open our hands in excessiveness. God advocates an approach that is in- between. (17:29) When they give they are neither extravagant nor stingy; they give in moderation (25:67).
Whilst charity can be given to anyone, God advocates it for certain people, the parents, relatives, orphans, the poor and the traveler. For those who are suffering in the cause of God and cannot emigrate (2:273). Charities shall also go to the workers who collect charity, the new converts, to free slaves and to those burdened by sudden expenses in the cause of God. Such is God’s command. (9:60)
Those of us who are blessed with resources and wealth shall be charitable towards their relatives, the poor and those who have immigrated for the sake of God. They shall treat them with kindness and tolerance. (24:22)
We are encouraged to donate our favorite food to the poor, the orphan and the captive and inform them that we are feeding them for the sake of our love for God and that we expect no words of thanks from them, nor reward. (76:8-9). God informs us that we cannot attain righteousness until you give to charity from the possessions you love. Whatever you give to charity, God is fully aware thereof (3:92). And we are informed in 7:156 that God’s mercy encompasses those who give the obligatory charity.
These are obligations placed upon us by God (30:38). This is indeed a difficult path, but one that if adhered to will be profitable to us both in this life and in the Hereafter. (90:11-18)
God in His infinite Mercy gives us every opportunity of reaching Him. Unfortunately most of mankind are oblivious to His signs. Therefore, extend God a loan of righteousness and give of your money and your lives to God. For this is a loan that will never go to waste.
Surely, the charitable men and women have loaned God a loan of goodness. They will receive their reward multiplied manifold; they have deserved a generous recompense (57:18).
Such is God’s promise and God never breaks a promise. (3:9 & 30:6)
(Reproduced from the Submitters Perspective, April 2001. Published by International Community of Submitters, Masjid Tucson, P. O. Box 43476, Tucson, AZ 85733)